Tag: <span>Big Data</span>

The ROI of Roofing Reports: How Understanding Your Data Can Impact Your Bottom Line

By Michelle Mittelman, Acculynx.

CRM platforms have evolved into a critical tool for roofers and exterior contractors when it comes to managing and organizing the processes associated with owning and running a service-based contracting business. Expanded features have given roofers the ability to create estimates and contracts, manage production calendars, order measurements and materials, and communicate more effectively across teams.

All of this functionality yields an overwhelming amount of job data that is collected and stored within a CRM. However, most roofing CRM’s offer little to no customization of reporting features, making it difficult to garner insight, visualize and disseminate this information to their teams. As a result, in an effort to combat this lack of data accessibility, roofers often run multiple reports across several platforms in order to see the information they need.

The ability to structure, customize and analyze data within a CRM is the most important tool that a roofer can leverage to make actionable decisions, strategize future production and gain a competitive edge.

Every company is different; roofers service different markets, use different materials and offer various additional exterior trades. The data that is important to one business may not have as great an impact on another when it comes to making decisions that affect the bottom line.

The ideal format of data output and the way that information is analyzed and applied to overall business strategy is so varied, that roofers cannot always rely on static reports to see viable results.

Reporting solutions for roofers need to be flexible.

The ability to create detailed reports, as well as the ability to manipulate the way that the data is grouped, calculated, displayed and shared needs to be customizable.

For example, a company may need to create a sales report for different material lines, or even get as granular as shingles sold by color. Other companies may need to report on the ROI of shingle recycling programs, or rebate offers year over year in order to better understand their overall performance.

Roofers need to be able to see their data to understand it.

The ability for roofers to easily visualize their data is another critical function of reporting. Dashboards can help roofers quickly see and understand high level key performance indicators. The ability to customize dashboards for specific teams or set permissions allows everyone to understand and measure their own success in correlation to the company.

Data should not live in a silo.

The data compiled in your CRM is only useful if it’s being shared with the people who need to see and understand the information. The ability to automatically share detailed reports, dashboards and analytics with your project managers, team leads and sales are critical when it comes to providing transparency and aligning department goals with those of your business. When key employees have access to these reports, they are better able to make adjustments to their strategies, analyze employee performance metrics, and identify existing issues and opportunities.

Successful roofers see the value that comes from understanding business performance. The ongoing ability to monitor reports drives meaningful changes, and ultimately contributes to revenue growth.

Seven Ways to Use Big Data in Roofing

By Ken Kelly, Kelly Roofing.

The biggest buzz word in technology today is “Big Data.”  You may not realize it, but you already have big data on your business.  It’s nothing more than a collection of records.  It can be a collection list, list of past customers, accounting numbers, time sheets or any list with similar fields.

The key to big data is how it is used.  Most people who have access to it are too far removed from business operations to utilize it constructively and use the results to improve their processes, grow sales, increase customer satisfaction and expand the bottom line.  Since you are on the front line, learning insights through validation will provide immediate ideas and help with implementation.

Here are seven ways you can use it immediately.

1 – Hiring Sales People

Entering the busy season your sales team starts running into issues keeping up with all the leads the company is receiving.  Your immediate reaction would be to hire another salesperson.  But, that’s a $100,000.00 investment and burned leads during the new salesperson’s training period.  There has to be another option.  Look to Bid Data for help to quantify options.  Calculate how many leads come from each zip code and balance them out among the sales team.  By quantitatively keeping salespeople in relative areas with balanced demand you will gain efficiency, cut costs, put off hiring another salesperson and keep response times down.

2 – Ad Spend

Is your advertising money really being used in the best way possible?  Are you sure?  How do you know?  Bid Data takes the guess work out of the equation.  Start by tracking all leads that come into the company by asking customers how they heard about you.  Next, take the breakdown and compare it two ways.  One, cost of advertising by sales volume.  Two, cost of advertising by margin.  You now have the information you need to start saving costs immediately by pulling money from programs that only deliver “Blue Sky,” general brand sentiment, and put it in vehicles that deliver real jobs with higher margins.

3 – Picking the Best Supplier

Strong relationships and good pricing are not the only criteria for picking a good supplier.  Consider letting big data help.  How much is your supplier costing you?  It’s an interesting question for sure.  Look to the data and answer these questions: How many times does the supplier not deliver on time leaving your crew stuck on the job without materials to work with?  How much have you overpaid for because deliveries were short?  Are you getting the payment term discounts they touted, or is the 2% back only on a few items?  These are all questions bid data can answer.  My suggestion is to arm yourself with the numbers and facts, then shop the market with the knowledge.

4 – Happy Customers

Are your customers happy with your service?  How do you know?  Is your team really delivering a great customer experience?  My suggestion is to start gathering data, so you have data to support it.  Add points to each answer and use the score to gauge the customer’s true impression of your company.  This valuable information will help steer your business in the right direction using facts, not feelings.

5 – Gamification

This is an up and coming concept and is starting to gain real traction.  Gamification is the art of assigning points to activities to quantify performance.  A few examples are:

  • When entering a lead into your CRM system, give points for the number of fields filled in and weigh the more important fields, like the customer’s email address, more heavily to encourage good phone skills.
  • Grant points, based on job size, for completing early or coming in under budget. Tie this to a bonus structure give to the operations team responsible for the project.

6 – Controlling Costs

We already discussed your supplier’s, sales lead’s and advertising’s effect on the bottom line.  Let’s look at a few more examples.

  • Fuel: Replacing vehicles with a more fuel-efficient variant may offset the vehicle payment and lower maintenance costs.
  • Insurance: Comparing loss ratios and marketing your company to carriers may help gain entry into an aggressive dividend return program.
  • Labor: By analyzing hours worked to dollars produced you can apply Prado’s 80/20 rule and eliminate the bottom 20% of your non-productive employees, non-profitable systems and non-performing crews.

7 – BI (Business Intelligence)

BI is the method of turning raw data into actionable strategy.  Remember, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure.”  There are many software programs that can help automate and chart BI.  Or, it could be done by hand via looking through the data manually.  These are the two most important parts of BI:

  • KPI (Key Performance Indicators: These are a set of goals that are set and then used to gauge accomplishments.
  • Predictive Analytics: This is the use of past historical performance to plan for the future.

Note: This article was first published in Roofing Contractor magazine and the full version can be viewed here.

Photo credit: Roofingcontractor.com

3 Reasons Why Big Data is Important in Construction

By Trent Cotney, Cotney Construction Law.

The use of big data can enhance a contractor’s ability to successfully run their business.

The construction industry has not been the fastest to integrate new technology into their processes over the years. The use of data is paramount across all industries. However, the construction industry has implemented data for more basic functions than for advancement. While historical data may be used for functions like job costing and budgeting, there are additional uses for data that can enhance decision making and reduce risk.

Big data can help contractors in these areas and many more. It can enhance your ability to successfully run your business.

What is Big Data?

Let’s start with a brief definition of big data. Big data is the large amounts of information that can be gathered from a variety of sources, including sensors, machines, and computers that, when analyzed, can provide details about trends and patterns. Big data can aid decision-making in the following areas:

Construction-area Logistics

Construction sites are fast-moving, complex areas that require a great deal of coordination to prevent delays. The use of sensors on machines, combined with project schedules and traffic data can help construction companies devise a routing system that ensures equipment is always in the proper place when needed. Data from previous projects can also determine the time it takes to get heavy equipment from one location to another. This information can be used to build more efficient project schedules.

Project Budgeting

More accurate project budgets can be created with the use of data from a number of existing sources. Information about the pricing and availability of materials, workers, and equipment can be gathered and used to determine the best uses of available funds. This data can even be compared with project payments to determine the profitability of certain projects.

Tracking Equipment Conditions

Sensors on equipment can give contractors information about the condition of equipment and determine when service is needed. With big data, it can be determined if a new piece of equipment is needed before the old one breaks down.

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Trent Cotney’s website and can be viewed here.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.